How to Pick the Best LVN or LPN School Near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it's important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Anchorage AK that will furnish the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LPN or LVN program that we will address later in this article. But first, let's take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
It Only Takes a Few Minutes to Start Your LPN or LVN Career Below
LPN and LVN Job Description
The most basic definition for what LPNs do is that they provide routine care for the sick or injured. They work in conjunction with RNs to adhere to a care plan for each patient. RNs typically have a wider scope of practice than LPNs, such as interacting with doctors and administering medication through IVs. While an LPN’s scope of practice may be smaller than that of a registered nurse, there are still plenty of important nursing duties on their plates. LPN duties do vary somewhat by state and employer, but in general terms they provide hands-on patient care regardless of the location or employer. LPNs are responsible for a range of patient care and administrative tasks, which can include:
- Monitoring basic patient health such as vital signs and overall condition
- Changing dressings or inserting catheters
- Taking patient histories and maintaining documentation
- Assisting with tests or procedures
- Providing personal care, such as helping with bathing and toileting
- Consulting with RNs on care plans
LPNs provide care in a variety of healthcare settings. More and more patients are seeking care in or near their homes, which has resulted in many LPN jobs moving away from the hospital environment and into more specialized settings. A few of the most common places LPNs work include Anchorage AK hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and even correctional facilities.
LPN and LVN Certificates and DegreesA licensed practical nurse is required to complete an approved educational program that normally takes 1 year in order to obtain a diploma or certificate. Programs are available in community colleges and trade schools. Every program provides supervised clinical experience. After receiving a diploma or certificate, an LPN takes the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to get licensed to work. The exam is five hours long. It’s important to make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited, which ensures the high quality standard of the program However, the program must be officially recognized by the State Board of Nursing or you cannot register to take the NCLEX-PN exam and will be unable to get licensed. Though all nationally accredited schools will also be approved by their state, it’s possible for a school to be approved but not accredited. LPNs can also take advanced programs available through professional associations in specialized areas. According to the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, LPNs can be trained in medication treatment, specialized procedures, or critical care interventions. By the way, working as an LPN can also pave the way to becoming a registered nurse (RN). Many schools offer what’s called a ‘bridge’ program. These programs take into account your LPN schooling and work experience and make it easier to transition to become an RN.
Attending LPN and LVN Classes Online
Enrolling in LPN schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing certificate or degree in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask LPN and LVN Schools
Now that you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges near Anchorage Ak as well as within Alaska and throughout the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Anchorage Alaska.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the LPN schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships. Also, it's important that you choose a school that offers clinical training in the type of facility you are most interested in. For example, if you want training and experience in pediatric care, make sure that the school you choose provides adequate clinical rotation in an area Pediatric Hospital.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for LPNs are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) together with graduation from an approved school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- NCLEX Exam Pass Rate. Once you receive your certificate or diploma, you must sign up for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Enrolling in a school with at least a 75% pass rate is highly preferred. Lower pass rates may indicate that a school’s program, curriculum or instructors are ineffective in teaching its students. You can find out from the school what their passing rate is for the last 5 years, or request the information from the State Board of Nursing.
Choose the Best Anchorage Licensed Practical Nurse School
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you pick an LPN college and a certificate or degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become an LPN in Anchorage Alaska.